Why we need to think about the Afterlife
– If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
How we think about the Afterlife affects this life
– Begin with the end in mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen. (Stephen Covey, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
Why we don’t think about heaven
– We have the wrong idea about heaven. When we think heaven, we think in terms of image rather than vision.
– The biblical authors are interested in giving us is a vision, rather than an image, of heaven.
What John saw in the future, at the conclusion of time
– The main attraction of heaven is – God is there (Rev. 21:1,3)
Feature of heaven #1 – Evil and sufferings end
– He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Rev. 21:4)
Feature of heaven #2 – God’s will is everywhere
– And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (21:5)
– The new thing that God is creating is that heaven and earth will be united. They will become one.
– And he said to me, “It is done!” (21:6)- When heaven and earth are united, the Lord’s prayer will finally be answered (Matt 6:10) God’s will is done on earth and in heaven.
– Shalom will be found in everything (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Feature of heaven #3 – His servants will reign with him forever
– No longer will there be anything accursed, But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, And his servants will worship him. (double meaning: serve) (22:3)
– They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (22:5)
We can not assume that every ‘Christian’ will go to heaven
– Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21-23)
– Imagine – Evil and sufferings end BUT deep down we harbour sinful desires (21:8)
– Imagine – God’s will is everywhere BUT we don’t really like God’s will
Some people will choose hell
– There are only two kinds of people in the end: Those who say to God, “Thy will be done.” And those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it.
– The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce)